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ESA/P/WP/224 March 2012 English only

Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division ! ! ! ! ! ! !

World Urbanization Prospects The 2011 Revision
Highlights

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United Nations New York, 2012

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KEY FINDINGS OF THE 2011 REVISION
1. Major disparities in the level of urbanization exist among development groups. Thus, whereas the proportionurban in the more developed regions was already nearly 54 per cent in 1950, it will still take another decade for half of the population of the less developed regions to live in urban areas (figure I).
Figure I. Urban and rural populations by development group, 1950-2050

2. The world urban population is expected to increase by 72 per cent by 2050, from 3.6 billion in 2011 to 6.3 billion in 2050.By mid-century the world urban population will likely be the same size as the world’s total population was in 2002. Virtually all of the expected growth in the world population will be concentrated in the urban areas of the less developed regions, whose population is projected to increase from 2.7 billion in 2011 to 5.1 billion in 2050. Over the same period, the rural population of the lessdeveloped regions is expected to decline from 3.1 billion to 2.9 billion. In the more developed regions, the urban population is projected to increase modestly, from 1 billion in 2011 to 1.1 billion in 2050 (table 1).

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3. The world rural population is expected to reach a maximum of 3.4 billion in 2021 and to decline slowly thereafter, to reach 3.05 billion in 2050. These global trends aredriven mostly by the dynamics of rural population growth in the less developed regions, which house today almost 92 per cent of the world rural population. Whereas the rural population of the more developed regions has been declining steadily during the second half of the twentieth century and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, the rural population of the less developed regions morethan doubled since 1950 and will likely continue to grow until 2021 before a long-term decline sets in.

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs/Population Division World Urbanization Prospects: The 2011 Revision!

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4. The rate of growth of the world urban population is slowing down (table 1). Between 1950 and 2011, the world urban population grew at an average rate of 2.6per cent per year and increased nearly fivefold over the period, passing from 0.75 billion to 3.6 billion. During 2011-2030, the world urban population is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 1.7 per cent, which, if maintained, would lead to a doubling of the urban population in 41 years. During 2030-2050, the urban growth rate is expected to decline further to 1.1 per cent per year,implying a doubling time of 63 years.
TABLE 1. TOTAL, URBAN AND RURAL POPULATIONS BY DEVELOPMENT GROUP, SELECTED PERIODS, 1950-2050 !
Population (billion) Development group 1950 1970 2011 2030 2050 Average annual rate of change (percentage) 1950-1970 1970-2011 2011-2030 2030-2050

Total population World .................................... More developed regions .... Less developed regions..... Urban population World .................................... More developed regions .... Less developed regions ..... Rural population World .................................... More developed regions .... Less developed regions ..... 1.79 0.37 1.42 2.34 0.34 2.01 3.34 0.28 3.07 3.34 0.23 3.11 3.05 0.18 2.87 1.36 -0.48 1.74 0.87 -0.48 1.03 -0.01 -0.92 0.07 -0.44 -1.14 -0.40 0.75 0.44 0.30 1.350.67 0.68 3.63 0.96 2.67 4.98 1.06 3.92 6.25 1.13 5.12 2.98 2.09 4.04 2.41 0.89 3.33 1.66 0.52 2.02 1.13 0.29 1.34 2.53 0.81 1.72 3.70 1.01 2.69 6.97 1.24 5.73 8.32 1.30 7.03 9.31 1.31 7.99 1.89 1.08 2.23 1.55 0.51 1.85 0.93 0.23 1.07 0.56 0.06 0.65

5. The sustained increase of the urban population combined with the pronounced deceleration of rural population growth will result in continued...
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